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A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood Thursday, April 1, 1999 Page 5


Arlene Gardner Highlights Achievements of First Term

WESTFIELD In outlining the achievements of the past three years during her first term on the Westfield Board of Education. Arlene L. Gardner noted, that "the board's most important task was to find the best possible superintendent for the district."

"Although I sometimes find myself in disagreement with Dr. (Schools Superintendent) Dr. (William J.) Foley, I believe that he is fair-minded, dedicated, and doing a very good job for this community.

"We also significantly improved the middle school math curriculum, and established benchmarks for elementary language arts this year with language arts benchmarks to be implemented at the middle schools next year.

The board conducted a strategic plan process and, in addition, developed a plan to better use the elementary schools by redistricting some student. Ms. Gardner recalled.

She also noted voters "overwhelming" support for a bond referendum to pay for the construction of additional elementary classrooms, and renovations and technology infrastructure improvements for all of the schools.

"Budgets with additional teachers, new programs, curriculum materials and computers but little fat have passed each of the past three years. While the total budget has increased slightly each year (less than 3 percent), the per pupil expenditure has decreased," the candidate stressed.

"The board also ended a desegregation policy which no longer fit the needs of the students or the school district; and we've established three elementary school support staff positions to help students with social skills and other problems which might be interfering with their academic achievements," Ms. Gardner explained.

"Because no one was paying much attention to these issues, so I gave them my best and most persistent efforts, which I believe made a difference," she said.

"One of the most important issues currently facing the board of education is how to continue an excellent educa

tional program for a burgteoning school population," Ms. Gardner stressed.

"The school population has increased by more than 300 students during the last three years. It will continue to increase at the rate of approximately 100 new students a year for the next five years. We have set in motion the necessary changes to deal with the increasing student population at the elementary schools: the construction of 16 additional classrooms and the hiring of additional teachers.

The middle schools seem to be able to physically accommodate the increase number of students with some schedule changes and additional staff, the candidate noted.

"We need to find a viable, cost effective solution for the (Westfield) high school when the high school population reaches more than 1,500 in two or three years. In addition to the use of classrooms at the (National Guard) Armory, I believe that better use of the space available at the high school could result in at least four or five additional classrooms," Ms. Gardner added.

As chairwoman of the Policies Committee, Ms. Gardner said she wants to update the district's policies. She also serves on the Curriculum Committee.

Ms. Gardner has a daughter in Westfield High School and a son at Edison Intermediate School.

"Over the next three years, we need to review and revise our social studies, science and computer technology programs to that they are well-articulated over grade levels. We also need to establish benchmarks which clearly outline what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level.

"This will enhance accountability and equality and ensure that our children obtain the skills and knowledge that they need for state tests, for college and for the working world," the candidate concluded.

William Wallace 'Delighted' With Bd.'s $54 Mil. Budget; Sees Emphasis on Technology

WESTFIELD – William Wallace, a candidate for an open spot on the Westfield Board of Education, said this week that he was "delighted" to see that the board agreed upon the $54 million 1999-2000 budget.

Mr. Wallace said he believes that the money will be "well spent" by increas

Annmarie Puleio Outlines Goals for Second Term

WESTFIELD – Annmarie Puleio, who is running for a second term on the Westfield Board of Education, recently highlighted her objectives for the school district.

High academic standards for each child, effective curricula and teaching, long-term planning, appropriate instructional space, innovative use of technology and well-managed, fiscally prudent budgeting have been the guiding principles for her work during her first term.

When she ran for the school board in 1996, Mrs. Puleio spoke of the need for board members to seek to translate the will of the community (taxpayers, parents, teachers, staff and students) into goals for the school district.

With an enrollment boom creating space and budget challenges, as well as the ever-present need to offer curricula that challenges all students, she sought to address these issues not simply in the annual budgeting process, but in the context of a broader longrange plan.

With Mrs. Puleio serving as its Chairwoman, the Long Range Planning Committee oversaw the development of the Strategic Plan. Reflecting the work of over 230 community members on various committees, the plan comprised a mission statement, goals and strategies for the coming years.

Included was the passage of a bond to address elementary enrollment, technology and facilities improvements.

On the Curriculum Committee, Mrs. Puleio has worked on numerous curriculum developments and revisions, including intermediate school mathematics, featuring ability-based courses, and Elementary Language Arts, which standardized learning benchmarks throughout the six elementary schools.

She serves on the Facilities and Policies Committees and has been a member of the negotiating team for the Secretarial Contract.

As a member of the board and in working on various interview committees, she has participated in the hiring of a new Superintendent, Business Officer, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, an intermediate school principal, three elementary school principals and the Supervisor of Fine Arts.

Among other things, she will work on space and programmatic issues at the intermediate and high school levels, challenging curricula, professional development for teachers, and further implementation of the Strategic Plan in a second term.

She resides in Westfield with her husband Dr. Joseph S. Sinisi, and her two children, Anne and Robert.

Victoria Manduca Begins Quest for Fanwood Seat On SP-F Bd. of Education

FANWOOD Victoria Manduca, a 10-year resident of Fanwood, has kicked off her candidacy for the Scotch PlainsFanwood Board of Education. Mrs. Manduca, who has been unsuccessful in two previous bids, is challenging incumbent Jessica Simpson for the Fanwood seat.

"There are many important issues facing schools in the coming months. It is important to assemble and consider all pertinent information and community input to ensure optimal decisions," she said.

Mrs. Manduca's two sons attend Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School while her daughter is a second grader at Brunner Elementary School.

The candidate said she is committed to a strong academic program from early elementary through to high

ing computer technology in the schools. He also feels that by allocating the necessary funds to the World Language curriculum, "Westfield will be able to offer an even more excellent language program."

Mr. Wallace is one of four candidates for the three open seats on the Westfield board. school.

"Districts are rushing to comply with the New Jersey State Core Curriculum Content Standards, though these standards are fuzzy, nonacademic, and have been rated an 'F' by three separate organizations.

"Cross-content workplace readiness skills' are to be woven into the curriculum at all grade levels. We must ensure that our district maintains a strong academic program rather than merely meeting the state's low expectations," Mrs. Manduca said.

The candidate has served on several district committees and is an active volunteer in the community.

Mrs. Manduca said her business experience "will additionally provide creative ways to improve our programs while holding the line on taxes."

Jessica Simpson Addresses Local Education Issues

FANWOOD — Jessica D. Simpson, a Fanwood candidate for reelection to the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education, is an advocate for children at the state and county levels, as well as fulfilling her duties on the local school board.

She speaks, writes and testifies before local political leaders and the state Commissioner of Education on issues such as School to Work, magnet schools, special education funding, tenure, facilities and property taxes.

Ms. Simpson serves on the Trustee Board of the Garden State Coalition of Schools (GSCS). She remarked, "Our participation in this organization helps steer the statewide educational agenda. Legislators listen to GSCS and often respond positively."

As an example, she cited her presentation on the School to Work issue during an early fall GSCS meeting attended by Assemblyman Richard H. Bagger. She said she was able to explain "the numerous negative consequences of this program, consequences that our lawmakers were just not aware of because they're not involved in education."

She continued, "Bringing this matter before our assemblyman resulted in the

Department of Education retreating from School to Work in its original form. Persistent advocacy works!"

In addition, Ms. Simpson has been debating and voting on state education policy as the local representative to the New Jersey School Boards Delegate Assembly since 1994. In January, Ms. Simpson was asked to join its state legislative committee.

In this role, she analyzes proposed legislation and votes on whether the New Jersey School Boards Association should support or oppose these bills. The next step is lobbying state representatives.

"We are fortunate to have such influential legislators so close to home," Ms. Simpson said, "They have been very receptive and responsive."

Ms. Simpson also had a pivotal role regarding the boards' position on the Union County Magnet High School for Science, Mathematics and Technology.

"I was the only dissenting voice to testify before the Freeholders on the funding formula which is so damaging to our local educational program," she remarked.

"Further, I personally wrote to every WESTFIELD – Residents will have the opportunity to meet the candidates for the upcoming School Board elections at "Meet the Candidates" on Monday, April 12, 7:45 p.m., in the Edison Intermediate School auditorium in Westfield.

The annual Candidates Forum is co-sponsored by the Westfield ParentTeacher Council and the Westfield Area League of Women Voters

The public is invited to attend and pose questions to the candidates vying for three three-year terms: Arlene Gardner, Annmarie Puleio, William Wallace and Genevieve Weber.

The moderator will be Louise Ballard of the Hillside League of Women Voters. The event will be videotaped for broadcast on TV-36. Air times will be announced. For more information, please call (908) 654-8628.

League of Women Voters Sets Board of Ed. Candidates Night Scotch Plains BOE Slates Candidates' Night Event

SCOTCH PLAINS — The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Council will host a Board of Education Candidates' Night on Monday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School on Westfield Road in Scotch Plains.

Candidates' Night provides voters in Fanwood and Scotch Plains with the opportunity to see and assess all of the school board candidates together in preparation for the school election on Tuesday, April 20.

Jessica D. Simpson and Victoria Manduca are vying for the single open Fanwood seat currently held by Mrs. Simpson. There are two seats available in Scotch Plains, currently held by Morris H. Gillet and Edward J. Saridaki, Jr., with five candidates in the running.

In addition to the two incumbents, the pool of Scotch Plains candidates includes Dominick Bratti, Ava R. McNamara, and former school board President Dr. Donald E. Sheldon.

The evening will be moderated by Margaret Walker of the Westfield League of Women Voters. Mrs. Walker will begin the program with the introduction of the candidates.

The candidates will then have the opportunity to present introductory remarks, including their reasons for running for the Board of Education, and how they have prepared themselves for

this role. The incumbents are asked to note their most significant contribution to the board. New candidates are asked what they plan to contribute as members of the Board of Education.

The PTA Council has posed two questions to the candidates. The first question deals with the specifics of what to do to improve the climate of contract negotiations in the future. The second asks the candidates to identify three issues that they feel are priorities in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood school district today, and how to approach one of them.

Members of the Junior Statesmen Association at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School have posed one question to the candidates. Candidates will answer these questions, and the forum will be opened to questions from the audience.

At the end of the session, candidates will be given the opportunity to present closing statements.

All residents are invited to attend and question potential members of the Board of Education. For those who are unable to attend, a videotape of the event will be broadcast on Channel 34.

The April 20 election will include a public vote on the district budget, as well as for candidates for the school board. Polls will be open from 2 to 9 p.m.

School Board Releases Continued on Page 18


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